Children's Yoga Franchise Tatty Bumpkin Takes First Steps Overseas

Children’s yoga franchise, Tatty Bumpkin, has taken on its first overseas franchisee in Qatar.

Over 3,000 miles away from the franchise’s home base on a cob-nut farm in Kent, mother of two - Cristina Mules - will be offering Tatty Bumpkin classes to residents of the capital city, Doha.

Mules will join the 28-strong, growing franchise business, headed up by founder Sam Petter.

Mules, Romanian by birth, has lived and worked in Doha for 10 years, with husband Bashar and two children. Like many of her counter-parts in the UK, Mules felt her full-time career as Head of Marketing wasn’t allowing her enough time with her children. She left full-time employment in November 2011, in search of a better work/life balance.

Mules said: "I knew I wanted to run some sort of quiet, calm, after-school activity club, to counteract the frenetic, noise-filled world we live in today, but had problems getting it started. One day I googled ‘children’s yoga’ and Tatty Bumpkin came up. After many months of conversations with Sam and the team, I made the decision to buy the franchise for Doha.

"Sam and the team have been so flexible, really working with me to make this a success. I get the sense they are handing me their ‘baby’ and I will do my best to look after it for them!"

Training for Mules was held in the UK and the team will continue to communicate with her through email and Skype. The classes will be almost identical to those taught in the UK, with small exceptions like swapping the ‘giggly tree’ for a palm tree and grass for sand.

Mules commented: "It would be hard for a child brought up in a desert state to envisage a green field filled with trees and cows; we’ll introduce a few more local animals and types of vegetation, but apart from that, it will remain the same."

Mules plans to translate the entire programme into Arabic in the future but with the majority of the Qatari population and ex-pats, who she sees as her most likely customers, speaking English, she does not see this as an immediate need.

Physical activity is highly encouraged by the Emir of Qatar, including a national sports day, when all employers must take their employees outside to take part in a sporting activity. Cristina is hoping to tap into this move towards greater physical well-being, whilst keeping it fun and relaxing.

Petter said she and the team are delighted to have their first overseas franchisee on board: "We are all so excited to see Tatty Bumpkin starting in Doha and couldn’t want for a better ambassador for our brand than Cristina. With her background in marketing and being a mum to two young children she is the perfect person to launch the brand overseas and we foresee great things for her in the coming months.

"In 2014, being 3,000 miles away simply isn’t the issue it once was. We’ll keep in touch with Cristina regularly through Skype and email, as we do with many of our busy UK-based franchisees. We’ve worked closely with Cristina during her visit to the UK to make sure the model will work well abroad, taking into consideration religious and cultural differences and will keep adjusting it if necessary. We’re sure Tatty is going to love living abroad and we hope this will be the first of many overseas franchises to come."